October 28th used to be three-days-‘til-Halloween day for me. This year it was what-the-heck-was-I-thinking-? day!
In the weeks leading up to October 28th, I lived in complete denial. Surely, I thought, something will intervene and October 28th will go back to being three-days-‘til-Halloween day, like it ought to be. I looked to the weather gods and was pleased to see the forecast for October 28th calling for snow. Yes! Three feet of the white stuff will keep people at home. Alas, they were just toying with me. It merely rained, but not hard enough.
When people asked me about it, I responded with a firm, “I don’t know,” as my eyes darted down and to the left giving away my lie.
There was no getting around it. In the end, I had to go with what-the-heck-was-I-thinking-? day and make my way to the All Candidates forum where I, along with eleven other candidates (2 for mayor & 9 others for Council) delivered two short speeches and responded to questions from the media and the audience. Thankfully, there were only a few that I had to answer directly. The mayoral candidates, however, were put through their paces and challenged on some sensitive issues.
I thought that I had been hoping that not many people would show up. I thought that I had been hoping that the turnout would be poor. It was anything but. Nearly every chair was filled and a sea of attentive eyes and ears were focused upon us all throughout the evening. Oddly, as the hall filled, I became quite pleased by the turnout. One of my biggest pet peeves as a citizen of Houston is the lack of community participation. Well on October 28th, the community participated. It was fabulous!
The event was stimulating. There was a lot of information to absorb and by the break my mind was nearing capacity. I tried to pay attention to what the other candidates were saying and watch the people in the audience. I love people watching and there were a lot of people to watch. Some nodded in response to what candidates were saying. Some appeared to be present in body, but elsewhere in spirit. Some chatted with their neighbours. Were they comparing notes about the candidates? Or making plans for the weekend? Hard to say.
After the break I found it hard to focus. The political rhetoric had left me a bit numb and the audience was reaching that point where they seemed to have heard enough and were just politely waiting to be dismissed. I said my reasonably well rehearsed piece and also waited politely to be dismissed. I had much to think about; much to process and filter. I knew that my mind would not go easily to sleep and I accepted that.
I accepted that!
I realized it just before midnight when I looked at the clock and was slightly surprised to discover that I had made no attempt to get ready for bed yet. Hmmm… While it is not uncommon these days for me to still be awake at that hour, it is typical for me to at least be in bed reading. Winding down. Resting, if not sleeping. But not that night. That night as October 28th became October 29th, I was wide awake and mentally reviewing the events of the evening.
And then I realized something else. I was not beating myself up for not having said something I didn’t say. I was not regretting a word of either of my speeches. I was thoroughly content that I presented myself authentically. This is who I am, I thought. There was nothing to apologize for and nothing to regret. My thoughts turned to the other candidates. Did they feel the same way?
I have always only voted for one reason: so that I could retain the right to complain. I feel quite strongly that if people don’t participate, they forfeit their right to whine. I don’t want to forfeit that right. Neither do I want to spend all my time complaining. A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that read – Before you complain… Have you volunteered yet? It struck a chord with me. Putting a tick beside some stranger’s name on a ballot wasn’t really enough. It was a weak and indolent approach to take just for the right to complain. (Oops! A worm of regret slithered through me.)
I am not a political person. I don’t involve myself in pondering the “issues” and I often feel like the issues are just things that get invented so that politicians have something to condemn each other over and blame each other for. I just want to be a good person. That’s enough. Isn’t it?
I think that politics is changing. There have been so many barriers put up and now people are starting to realize that they can’t see what’s really happening. It’s time to take those barriers down. And maybe that’s why I’m doing this. Running for Council. Because I think it’s time to challenge some of the established ideology and look for some different ways to do things.
I have felt for a very long time that I have some purpose here in this world that I have yet to identify. I have been waiting – sometimes not very patiently – to discover what the purpose is and to try to fulfill it. For over a year, the notion of running for Council has been an ever-present specter permeating every aspect of my psyche. It isn’t just something that I thought I might try; I was compelled to do this. While there have been moments of anxiety, moments of dread, it mostly feels right.
I don’t know what it going to happen on November 15th. I know that I will be disappointed if I’m not elected. Yet I think that I even if I’m not I will be happy that I tried. I have a lot to offer; I know that. But if the voters choose otherwise, I am confident that something else will come out of all this – something good.
Only fifteen more sleeps!